Hello there, blog. Fancy meeting you here...
No, I hadn't forgotten about you. I'd been meaning to write, really. It's just been kind of... busy?
In truth, I've been feeling too overwhelmed with new experiences to actually sit down and write about them, but at the same time there hasn't been a whole lot of importance going on (if that makes any sense at all). Actually, I think it really boils down to me just being lame. So, it's not you... it's me. Let's be friends?
I guess I will start with the holidays, which I know are still relevant because there are still holiday-themed commercials on TV, featuring cell-phone-having snowmen. I thought snowmen didn't even have ears, but whatever.
This was the first year I've ever spent Christmas away from my family, so it was pretty different. In the past, I had been pretty smug about the fact that I'd never had to catch a plane or take off work at the holidays... I never lived more than an hour or so from the fam. Since Mike and I got to Austin what feels like 5 minutes ago, we thought it was too soon to travel to our respective families, who are on separate coasts as well as scattered in between. At first, we were just going to eat Chinese take-out on Christmas while watching 24 hours of "A Christmas Story" on TV and clipping our toenails. Luckily another option presented itself, because I think I would have needed a whole stockingful of Zoloft to get over what a sad scene that would have been.
Instead, we drove up to Dallas to spend Christmas day with Mike's mom and her side of the family. This was preceded by lots of sweatiness on my part, because I get really nervous whenever I have to meet someone new. Especially someone who is kinfolk to my future husband and might possibly deem me unworthy of assimilation into their family. Luckily I had already met his mom and knew her to be a lovely person. And even more luckilier, the rest of his family turned out to be very awesome and Texan.
We dined on turkey and pork, but there were also some healthy vegetarian options such as asparagus wrapped in bacon, and broccoli salad with cheddar cheese and bacon. With bacon pudding for dessert. No, no bacon pudding, but Mike's aunt did whip up a homemade chocolate pudding that would make Bill Cosby hang his head in shame.
And everyone was so sweet and generous in their gift-giving. We scored a couple of fluffy blankets for our super cold, super drafty house. They are awesomely soft. Mike compares the one we put on our bed with sleeping under a thousand baby rabbits.
My favorite gift, though, was given to Mike's 6-month-old cousin, Hank The Adorable. If I were shopping for a Christmas present for a 6-month-old, I might go the teddy bear or teething ring route. No. Apparently in Texas it is customary to give a 6-month-old a brand new shotgun to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Is it in the Bible? Frankincense, myrr, shotgun? I don't know, I haven't read it in a while. I guess next year I will need to spring for a stripper and a fifth of bourbon for baby Hank.
All in all it was a really fantastic Christmas full of super fun new family members and delicious food. The only touch-and-go moment involved Mike's cousins' grandma, who is in her 90s. She is all vim and vigor brain-wise, but slouches down into her wheelchair so that her head kind of turns into her shoulder, muffling her voice when she is talking. (Which is most of the time, and mostly sass.) She has a really thick Texan accent and kind of mumbles, making it near impossible to understand her. Imagine if you will the combination of Cartman's and Kenny's voices on "Southpark," if that voice was 90, feisty, and had a strong Texas accent. Luckily, Mike's cousins spend enough time with her that they could understand and interpret everything she said for us.
But disaster struck when everyone else left the room and it was just me, Mike and Mike's sister alone with grandma. None of us had ANY idea what the lady was saying, which was not helped by the fact that she was maybe The Original Chatty Cathy. It was terrifying. She was totally with-it mentally and could understand everything we said. She would go on and on about something unintelligible to the untrained ear, which was ok when we could pretend to be listening by staring intently at the cheese log, but. She would frequently ask questions of us. Or, more accurately, would make noises that sounded like they could be construed as a question and then would be silent, which seemed to indicate that we should respond somehow. I could only think of three viable solutions in this situation: pretend I hadn't heard, laugh, or shrug and shake my head. I have never been so afraid of a 90-year-old.
One small hiccup in an otherwise delightful Christmas really isn't bad.
We've done a lot of other good stuff since we've been in Austin, too, which I promise to write about before 2010.